Rachel Mawhirter says that the problems facing the City of Great Bend are real, but that the solutions can be simple. As one of three candidates for the Ward 2 seat on the Great Bend City Council, Mawhirter wants to use her background in entrepreneurship and marketing to bring concepts from the private sector into the public sector.
“Sometimes in local government, we forget to treat our residents like customers,” Mawhirter says. “People do have a choice to live here, a choice to invest in their businesses and personal property, and a choice to visit our community. If we operated with some of the same philosophies adopted by successful businesses, we could improve our customer service, our transparency, our human resources policies, and more.”
Mawhirter’s ideas are extensive, but most center around creating a pro-business environment with improved communication and transparency. She also wants to explore ways to better market ourselves internally to our residents and brag about the things we are doing really well, while also exploring avenues for promoting our community to attract the types of residents and businesses we want to see in the future.
“I won’t make a lot of empty promises about changing the world, but I do promise to explore new possibilities and learn as much as I can,” Mawhirter says. “I’ve put together an Action Plan that can be downloaded from my Facebook Page. I hope people will look over the list of ideas I’ve come up with and see the amount of time and passion I am committing to this position. It would be an honor to serve, but to me this is more than just two monthly meetings. It’s about forging ahead and doing strategic planning to put steps in place for making progress.”
Other items at the top of Mawhirter’s list of ideas include better defining our economic development programs so that businesses shopping around for new locations will understand what the City of Great Bend can offer them to help with their transition, instead of waiting for them to ask for a proposal. She also plans to explore new ways to make it easier to move to Great Bend.
“As an employer, I have faced the struggle of recruiting highly qualified professionals, and have heard first-hand the obstacles they faced trying to move here,” she says. “Finding housing is hard enough, but signing up for utilities and transferring property is almost a nightmare. Some of that may be out of the City’s control, but we should at least be doing everything we can to give them a good first impression.”
Real estate is also on the Action Plan Mawhirter is circulating. Her goals are to revisit our City real estate codes for commercial property and to make it easier to utilize the existing real estate our community has for housing and for businesses, especially in downtown. “Lots of communities get creative to create safe, but flexible codes that can accommodate utilizing older structures for retail, event spaces, apartment living, etc,” Mawhirter says. “I’d love to learn more about our City codes to find out what latitude we might have to utilize some of the second stories of downtown properties, and if codes are the barrier, then evaluating what can be done to safely adapt those codes for limited uses.”
Mawhirter graduated from Great Bend High School before earning a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from Fort Hays State University. She also holds a certificate in Human Resource Management.
Rachel and her husband, Justin, are both entrepreneurs. Rachel owns a marketing and design firm called Marketing Maven Consulting, and Justin owns a construction company called Just In Time Remodeling. The couple have two sons, Jace (6) and Emmett (3), and are active members of the community. Rachel serves on several volunteer boards and committees, including Barton County Young Professionals, Elder Care Inc, The Prairie Godmother Funds, and MOPS of Great Bend. They are also members at First Assembly of God church. Learn more about Rachel on her facebook page, or download her detailed action plan at https://goo.gl/d9N9Rd. Rachel can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.